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September 10, 2011

Quick hits from NCSU's loss to Wake Forest

Quick hits and notes from NC State's 34-27 loss at Wake Forest in front of 32,423 fans at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday afternoon.

The ghosts of BB&T Field/Groves Stadium

Somewhere along the line, Wake Forest has become an extremely tough venue for the Wolfpack to play football. The Deacs extended their home dominance over State to five games in a row. NC State has not won in Winston-Salem since 2001.

NC State still leads the overall series against the Deacs 70-38-2, but Wake head coach Jim Grobe improved to 6-5 against NC State since he began his tenure in Winston-Salem. The Deacs also snapped a four-game home losing streak dating back to last season and ended a seven-game ACC winless stretch.

Where's the defense?

Lot of career highs were set on this afternoon for Wake Forest. The Deacs' sophomore receiver Michael Campanaro had five catches for 93 yards and a touchdown all in the first half before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. That marked a new career high in receiving yards. His 31-yard catch-and-run touchdown was the longest of his career. For good measure, Campanaro completed a 40-yard reverse pass to Wake senior wide out Danny Dembry for a score, Campanaro's first career pass.

When Campanaro went down at halftime, Dembry stepped up in the second half. He caught a career-high six passes for 96 yards, also a personal best. His previous best game had been four catches for 51 yards against Navy last year.

Wake senior receiver Chris Givens caught six passes for 111 yards for his second-straight and fifth-career 100-yard receiving game. Demon Deacon sophomore quarterback Tanner Price completed 22 of 35 passes for 297 yards and a score and interception.

Third down kills NC State

Looking for a telling stat from the game? Check out third down conversions. Wake Forest was 8 of 16 on third downs (and 1 of 1 on fourth down). NC State was just 5 of 14 and 1 of 3 on fourth downs.

Wake converted a third and eight on their opening drive with Price's 31-yard touchdown pass to Campanaro. They converted a fourth and eight on the second drive to set up an eventual field goal. After NC State scored to make it 10-3, Wake converted a third and 10 with a 31-yard Price-to-Givens pass, setting up Campanaro's touchdown toss.

Leading 17-6 with 2:44 to go before halftime, Wake embarked on a drive that included third and nine and third and 10 conversions en route to a field goal as time expired.

Wake Forest also got a three-yard run on third and two from sophomore running back Josh Harris to set up a third quarter touchdown.

Offense stepped up in second half

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Mike Glennon had a huge second half for NC State. He ended the game completing 24 of 41 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He threw a 65-yard touchdown to redshirt junior Tobais Palmer and 63-yard score to senior T.J. Graham on a fourth and 10 play.

Graham caught six passes for 117 yards and the touchdown, and Palmer had seven receptions for 96 yards and his score. Both were career highs in receiving yards. Palmer set a personal best for catches while Graham's matches his, and both had their longest career catches. That was Palmer's first career touchdown pass as well.

Fifth-year senior tight end George Bryan, who has several costly drops, caught three passes for 40 yards and a score, his 14th career touchdown reception. That moves Bryan up to a tie for seven with Naz Worthen and Haywood Jeffries for most career scoring catches.

Smith plays both ways

Redshirt sophomore receiver/cornerback Rashard Smith played both offense and defense in the contest. The last known Wolfpack play to play both sides of the ball was former defensive tackle DeMario Pressley, who lined up at fullback for some snaps in a game in 2005.

Palmer made his first career start Saturday, as did redshirt freshman defensive end Art Norman, subbing for an injured fifth-year senior Jeff Rieskamp. Norman was credited with a five-yard sack in the contest.

Freshmen kickers shine

Kudos to true freshmen place kicker Niklas Sade and punter Wil Baumann. Sade nailed field goals of 37 and 45 yards (with room to spare), and Baumann averaged 41.7 yards per four punts, pinning two inside the 10.

Also a note for junior safety Brandan Bishop, who made an important interception in the fourth quarter. That made it the third straight game that NC State has picked off a pass.


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